View Full Version : The Battle of Bantry Bay

David Manley
12-24-2011, 00:05
To open the batting in the "Missions" area I thought I'd post a link to a scenario I put together for a game at the London Napoleonic Fair in 2000.


12-24-2011, 00:46
Interesting situation, the French outnumber the British but have crap crews. This time they have to fight to protect the transports, no running away. Wind doesn't favour either main force but the french frigates at the harbour entrance are in trouble! How did the game play out back in 2000?

David Manley
12-24-2011, 01:59
It was a pretty balanced fight with the RN edging it at the end, but it could have gone either way. I did have some very able commanders playing on both sides. I've run it since a few times and honours are just about even. We certainly got a lot of attention and interest in the game as we were the only naval game at the show. This was the third game we did there - we started with a 200th anniversary refight of the Nile in 1998 (had a long chat with a USMC Colonel who was a keen student of the period and visited the site whilst on duty in Egypt). I can't for the life of me remember what we did in 1999, although I think it may have been the Algeceiras Bay actions as we were running them as an NWS demo game around about that time.

12-24-2011, 02:29
The historical campaign was a failure of course. The French decided to invade Ireland in Dec 96, early winter and not a great time to send a fleet to sea (apparently the French Govt actually had a change of heart but the message to cancel the operation missed the fleet sailing). An early collision of ships saw the 74 Séduisant lost with most of her crew and several smaller vessels failed to reach Ireland. General Hoche was in command of the invading army, a great and successful young officer and rival of Bonaparte for fame. His ship was separated early on from the rest of the fleet who arrived in Bantry Bay where the second in command of the army Grouchy, of Waterloo fame, took over the invasion force.

Bad weather, uncertainty about the strength of British forces ashore and the absence of Hoche caused Grouchy to cancel any landing and the fleet eventually returned to Brest having achieved nothing except the loss of ships and life.

12-24-2011, 14:19
where the second in command of the army Grouchy,

This has to be the perfect name for a marshal (at least when pronounced in English).... :)

12-24-2011, 18:31
One could argue that some of the indecision shown by Grouchy here persisted long into his career. He became a fine cavalry commander but was probably elevated beyond his abilities. When generals such as Vandamme, Girard, Mornad etc failed to reach the marshalate one wonders how Grouchy did.

12-27-2011, 22:01
An interesting aspect of this campaign was that the French Vice Admiral Justin Bonaventure Morard de Galles who was to command the naval expedition was changed at the last minute. He was a successful commander with many years of experience and by replacing him may have undermined the campaign to come and help explain the debacle.

For an insight into his career see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morard_de_Galles

01-05-2012, 12:40
Very interesting Dave. I had only heard of the battle in passing. The details in your scenario show that it would be very doable as soon as the ships arrive.